As Mac OS X Mountain Lion is expected to be released this summer, Apple sent out a mass email to Mac developers last Monday. The message urges them to apply for a Developer ID ahead of Gatekeeper’s launch.
Although the company believes that the Mac App Store is the safest place where users can download software for their computers, the Mac creator is concerned about malicious applications that can be obtained through unknown channels. To block these kinds of apps, they’ve created the Gatekeeper security system, which will be available for the next-generation OS X Mountain Lion.
The email sent out last Monday was the second invitation that Apple has given to its developers. The first one was distributed last February, together with the introduction of the security feature.
More About the Gatekeeper
One of the most anticipated features for the Mac OS X 10.8; Apple introduced the Gatekeeper last February. This security feature basically provides Mac users with additional security options for installing and running third-party applications. It is designed to help prevent users from “unknowingly downloading and installing malicious software.”
The feature has three security levels. By default, the feature will enable application downloaded from the Mac App Store and “identified developers.” That’s why Apple advises developers to get their free Developer ID, as this will be used for signing applications to ensure that their apps are clean and have not been tampered. The lowest level of security allows applications from various sources to be downloaded and installed, while the highest level of security allows users to acquire and run apps from the Mac App Store only.
The Gatekeeper was built after a malware was detected in Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Known as the MAC Defender, it is a Trojan that guises as an anti-virus and tricks users in providing their payment information. Apple then updated the security feature to detect and remove the malware.
Thwarting Future Malwares
Although Gatekeeper is not a full-fledged anti-virus program, Apple hopes that the feature will prevent future malicious software from infecting their Mac products. Recently, the company released a Flashback Malware Removal Tool in order to eliminate a Trojan that infected 600,000 Macs.
The Trojan came from an unknown source, and tricks users to download a phony Adobe Flash Player. Once downloaded and installed, it will turn off any active security feature and will start harvesting user information like the machine’s MAC Address.
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